HL Deb 03 July 1845 vol 81 cc1430-1
The Earl of Ripon

, in moving that the House do resolve itself into a Committee on the Banking (Ireland) Bill, said, that the measure was so nearly identical with the Scottish Banking Bill, that he should not upon that occasion trouble them with any lengthened observations; and still less would it he necessary for him to state in detail the grounds upon which the measure rested. Thus much, however, he might say, that it was intended to give the Bank of Ireland privileges, as regarded issue, somewhat similar to those enjoyed by the Bank of England. The Bill which he now moved should be committed, was one that he had no doubt would prove highly advantageous to the joint-stock hanks at present existing in Ireland; and he must say, that those establishments appeared to him to be eminently entitled to the support of the Government and of the Legislature, for they had conferred great benefits upon Ireland. With respect to the connexion subsisting between the Bank of Ireland and the Government, it was only necessary for him to say that such dividends on the public debt as were paid in Ireland should continue to be paid by the Bank of Ireland; and as regarded the interest which the Government paid to the Bank for the amount of its capital in the hands of the Government, that would be reduced to 3½ per cent. The effect of the Bill, he hoped, would be to promote objects that the Legislature must be most anxious to promote, namely, commercial enterprise, and a development of the resources of Ireland by the extensive introduction of capital.

The Marquess of Clanricarde

said, that the Bill was founded upon sound principles, and, on the whole, would be likely to prove beneficial to Ireland. But, with respect to the Bank of Ireland, it was only of late years that it could be said really to discharge those functions which the public had a right to expect from that establishment. Between the years 1814 and 1824, the manner in which the Bank of Ireland did business was so inconvenient, and towards the merchants of Dublin so unfair, that it became necessary to establish the Hibernian and the Royal Banking Companies; and he hoped that Her Majesty's Government would see the necessity and the justice of allowing those banks to circulate notes on the same security as the other banks. Those banks had been conducted on the soundest and best principles; they had conferred great benefit upon the trading community, and had reaped considerable profit from their mode of dealing. The only objection against this proposal was, that an Act had passed last year putting a stop to further issue in the United Kingdom; but that Act really applied only to the banking transactions of Great Britain, and there was only one phrase in it which could be construed to extend the provisions to Ireland. The case of these two banks was one of extreme hardship; and he trusted the Government would allow the introduction of a clause giving to them, as well as to other banks, the benefit of breaking up the monopoly of banking in Ireland. He would not move any specific proposition in Committee; but if the Government refused to entertain the prayer of these banks, he should feel it his duty to move a clause on a future stage of the Bill.

Lord Monteagle

did not wish to refuse his assent to the general principles of the measure; but there were some points to which he wished the Government would direct their attention. He approved of the joint-stock banking principle, if it were carefully managed, while the number of branches made a central superintending authority to control their issues more necessary. He would most earnestly advise those engaged in the joint-stock banks of Ireland to pause before they incurred the additional risk of a metropolitan circulation. He thought the Government would act wisely and justly if they allowed the Hibernian and National Banks to have the power of issue. When they conceded the power of metropolitan issue to other banks, he thought they could not fairly refuse it to two banks of the most undoubted capital and respectability. As they had prohibited fractional notes, he recommended to the Government to provide a sufficient supply of silver.

The Earl of Ripon

said, with respect to the silver currency, it was a matter to be taken into consideration by the Government, with a view to make provision against any inconvenience being suffered by the labouring classes from the want of it.

House in Committee. Bill reported without Amendment.